The Monday after the actual “Week” of Compassion last year, I received an e-mail from our brothers and sisters in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They had decided to organize a “Day of Compassion” in all of the Disciples congregations in Mbandaka. As a result of their worshipping together, they received an offering that day of $300, which they sent to Week of Compassion. An offering of $300, sent by our Congolese Disciples family as a contribution to our annual Week of Compassion special offering. Out of abject poverty and not far from one of the most horrific humanitarian crises in the world today, comes this gift. A glimpse of God’s generosity and grace modeled by those many would consider the least likely to model such qualities.
Once again, Week of Compassion receives good news FROM the poor.
The gifts from last year’s Week of Compassion were at work all year-long, in ways that many of us never expected. Disasters are the “expected unexpected” and so we never know when our compassionate response may be needed. In situations of chronic poverty, hunger, displacement, and disease, Week of Compassion gifts turn into wells for clean, accessible water; seeds and tools that lead to a family’s food security; life-saving medicines; a microloan for a woman victim of war with no other means to make a living; shelter for a family fleeing from violence, oppression, or persecution. We are, truly, around the world, around the year. As you know, we are present all over the world thanks to our partnerships with our own Disciples ministries and ecumenical agencies.
The long-term, sustainable development work that Week of Compassion makes possible happens through our operational partner organizations, such as Church World Service. Thanks to your gifts, people are not only relieving their hunger, they are ensuring a sustainable future. Take a look.
Thanks to your gifts, Week of Compassion has supported partner organization IMA World Health’s health programs across Haiti. Take a look at how you’ve helped provide shoes to children.
Thanks to your gifts, Week of Compassion offerings turn into breakfast for Marias all over the world; shoes for children across the globe; and access to sustainable food, medical care, water, and education in places where it would otherwise not be found. And of course, Week of Compassion offerings also turn into solidarity grants for those right here at home, in the U.S. or Canada, when our own Disciples have been affected by disaster and are in need. Week of Compassion is our ministry.
As we journey throughout the rest of this Week of Compassion as well as into Lent, may we not only recommit ourselves to bringing good news to the poor, in the form of our gifts, tithes and offerings, but also to learn from the poor as we model the generosity and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in so doing, change lives.
Praise be to God for the privilege of giving!